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Cuba Has Over One Million Mobile Phone Subscribers

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The number of mobile phones in Cuba had passed the one million mark at the end of last year, the country's National Statistics Office said in a report, cited by the Reuters news agency.

The Communist country first relaxed mobile phone ownership in 2008, when the subscriber base stood at 330,000. By the end of 2009, the subscriber base had doubled to 621,000.

When the government lifted restrictions on mobile phone ownership in May 2008, and the sole mobile network operator, ETECSA reported that it signed up 7,400 customers within the first ten days of the new regime. A cell phone contract costs about US$120 to activate - which equates to around half a year's wages on the average state salary.

The US government also made it easier for Cubans to use mobile phones after it lifted an import embargo on the handsets and allowed relatives living in the USA to send phones back home to their families.

"Now that the Cuban people can be trusted with mobile phones, they should be trusted to speak freely in public," former President Bush said at the time. "If Raul's serious about his so-called reforms, he will allow these phones to reach the Cuban people."

With a population of 11.2 million, the country has a total telephone density of just under 20 percent, the lowest in Latin America, according to the ITU. Cuba also has around one million fixed telephone lines.

On the web: Reuters

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Tags: etecsa  Cuba